MLB

Alex Rodriguez Trade Rumors: Yankees Must Deal Declining Third Baseman

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees flips his bat as he reacts after he struck out in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 14, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 17, 2012

The New York Yankees and Miami Marlins are discussing a trade that would send third baseman Alex Rodriguez packing to Florida, according to Keith Olbermann of MLBlogs.com.

Olbermann reported on Wednesday that the Yankees would likely either assume all of Rodriguez's remaining contract for the next five seasons or pay less of his salary and take on the rest of Marlins reliever Heath Bell's contract.

The Yankees would be wise to make this move. Yes, Rodriguez is still owed $114 million moving forward, but you can't keep a struggling player on the roster just because you gave him a massive contract. Those teams that hold on to declining players hoping they will make good on their contracts usually pay the price on the field.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, three-time MVP and World Series champion, is far removed from the glory days. Despite having a career .300 average and 647 lifetime home runs, the 37-year-old has hit under .280 the past three seasons and has hit a combined 34 home runs the past two years. 

The Yankees did not pay Rodriguez to hit under .280 and hit under 20 home runs per season. He was expected to be their No. 3 hitter when he came over to New York from Texas in February 2004. He's given the Yankees some good years, but those years are over now.

 

Rodriguez's power has not only diminished, but his bat speed is clearly not what it once was. Pitchers have basically been blowing fastballs by him this postseason and he has gone 3-for-23 with 12 strikeouts as a result.

Manager Joe Girardi's best move this postseason was taking A-Rod out of the lineup in favor of Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. Ibanez proceeded to blast two home runs and lead New York to a stunning 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.

The word is out throughout the league that Rodriguez can't get to fastballs as well as he used to and it is clearly no secret anymore.

By keeping A-Rod on the roster, you are only inviting disappointment (like, say, the disappointment of being down three games to zero against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS). 

The Yankees can afford to pay the rest of Rodriguez's giant contract, but they can't afford to fail under New York's glare. They should do themselves a favor by moving on without A-Rod and starting a new chapter in their franchise's history.

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